Cycling clothing is often the subject of much mockery because it is tight-fitting and often features loud colors, but you do not necessarily have to be bound to tight cycling shorts and bright yellow jerseys. Countless styles of cycling clothing exist, and color schemes range from the very tame to the more outlandish. When choosing cycling clothing, first consider what type of cycling you are likely to do on a regular basis, then explore the options available for those specific activities. Remember that moisture-wicking fabrics will keep you dry and comfortable, and they will be quick-drying for those longer rides.
The reason cycling shorts tend to be tight-fitting is because excess material can cause chafing on the thighs, hips, and buttocks. These pieces of cycling clothing fit tightly to the body for aerodynamics and comfort, and they feature a pad to protect the buttocks and other sensitive parts of the body from the harsh contact with the bike seat. When choosing cycling shorts, consider multi-panel shorts, as these tend to offer a tighter, more comfortable fit. Be sure the seams are not located anywhere likely to cause chafing, and choose a pair of shorts with a thick pad for comfort. If you are not comfortable with tight-fitting cycling shorts, you can buy baggy shorts that feature a tight-fitting insert with a pad that is concealed.
Other cycling clothing to consider includes jerseys, jackets, arm warmers, and socks. Jerseys are made from moisture-wicking materials, and they can be tight fitting or not. Road cyclists tend to prefer tight-fitting jerseys because they will not flap in the wind, while some types of mountain bikers prefer baggy jerseys for comfort. Choose a jersey with pockets that can hold an extra tube, food, or extra clothing. Some jerseys feature a full length zipper up the front, which makes venting much easier.
Socks are an important piece of cycling clothing, but are often overlooked. Choose a pair of moisture wicking socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable; if you plan on riding in the cold weather, consider wool-synthetic blend socks that will keep your feet warm and dry in the worst weather. You will probably need a good cycling jacket or vest as well; look for one that is water resistant and breathable. Some jackets feature zip-off sleeves so the jacket can be worn as a vest should the temperature change.